Saturday, April 3, 2010

"Not all lemonades are created equal."

I loved Edinburgh! Although I'm not sure Edinburgh loved me. I tripped at least 10 times a day (cobblestone...not so charming) and was almost blown off a cliff. But I had a great time exploring this amazing and haunted city and I hope I can go back to Scotland soon!

Wednesday, after a fairly pitiful attempt at trying to get work done in Sheffield, I boarded the Megabus to Edinburgh, Scotland. The bus had been delayed getting there because of the weather and the service bus supposed to meet us was stuck in Scotland. So I was a bit nervous about the weather after all these reports. Overall, the ride was great and I got an awesome tour of the countryside. Cozy farms with roaming sheep. Crashing waves along romantic cliffs. Gorgeous and rugged. I got into the city around 7 and managed to find my hostel amid the twisting streets and layers. It happens to be next to the castle so I used that as my landmark. After dropping my stuff I felt like dropping as well but a girl in my 6 bed dorm was going on the pub crawl so I joined her. I only planned on going to one or two but was having a great time with one of the hostel employees and a brother and sister from California so I stayed for the whole thing. We hit an Australian bar, an Irish pub, a metal bar and finally a dance club. Crazy fun first night!

Thursday morning I took a trip to the supermarket for cereal and lunch fixings. The hostel has really nice and fancy kitchens with refrigerators and cabinets to store food. Then I made it back to the hostel for the 11am walking tour with none other than our pub crawl lady. She did a great job telling us stories and making us laugh. Edinburgh certainly has a sordid past. Paige, my housemate from Sheffield, came into town that afternoon and we decided to meet up for tea at the Elephant House. It's a cute cafe where Rowling created Harry Potter. Major geek out! After catching up, we walked the Royal Mile down to the palace which is still used for some of the queen's functions. Deciding not to pay the entrance fee, we opted for climbing Arthur's seat, a cliff/summit overlooking the city. It was also beautiful weather so we wanted to take advantage of the sun. Brilliant views although the wind was a little frightening. I think I look either scared or wind-blown in all those photos. It was worth it though. Another friend from Uni, Darius, happened to be in town that day as well and staying at my hostel so I checked in with him later to see what his plans were. He was meeting up with some people and the guide from his tour of Scotland. Paige and I couldn't decide what to do but eventually just went out for some traditional food. I had haggis--a scary looking but yummy Scottish dish. Please, don't tell me what's in it. I do not want to know. Not really up for a big pub crawl, we decided to meet up with Darius and spent the evening at the Blackbull pub, or something like that. It was a great hole-in-the-wall with locals and good tunes. The tour guide bought us grenades which are aptly named I must say. Darius and I eventually headed back to the hostel and planned to meet up for coffee at 8:30 am the next morning before he left.

I woke up at 8:15. Totally unintentional. I was impressed at how fast I got ready. We met downstairs and walked to Costa which was supposed to have great views of the city but the glass was all frosted. After parting ways, I went back and cleaned up before meeting Paige at the castle. We debated about paying to see it but I wanted to do one big touristy thing so we bit the bullet. It was a pretty nice castle and surprisingly intact. In fact, some of the buildings are still used by the military. We went in some of the museums, saw a live, medieval musical performance and wandered through the POW prisons. Oh, we also saw the crown jewels and the stone of destiny. We didn't know what to do with ourselves for the rest of the day so we wandered in and out of free museums and did some shopping. Exhausted, we had tea and snacks at her hostel and relaxed for a bit. Around dinner, we went in search of food and found a cute place called The Tron that does specialty burgers among other things. It was super cheap as well. I got a chicken curry dish because I was really craving some naan. After hanging there for a while, we left to take a night walking tour. There are tons of haunted ghost tours but we did the free one. It was really funny but not scary. I think I'll invest in a really scary one that goes into the underground vaults if I go back.

After the tour we decided to find drinks and live music at an Irish pub but found intense rugby fans watching a game instead. So we wandered until we found a place with music and hung out there. Apparently we found a good place because it was crazy packed and had awesome music. A girl that was with us wanted to head back since she was leaving early so we parted ways a couple hours later. I went back hoping to pack and sleep but my card key didn't work so I went down to get it fixed. While at reception, 2 guys staying there--one being the manager--convinced me to have a drink next door with them and watch one of his lady friends dj. It was a really fun night but I was exhausted by the end and getting tired of the electro-indie mixes that all start to sound the same after a while. The manager was crazy too and pushed us all to the front. I think my ears are still ringing. It turned into a fun, interesting but completely unexpected last night.

I rolled out of bed on Saturday and somehow got packed up and checked out before 10. It was another beautiful day so I was a little sad to leave. I was planning on sleeping on the 6 hour bus ride back to Sheffield but ran into some people I met on a walking tour so chatted with one of them for most of the ride. I did get some shut eye and reading done. I made it into Sheffield around 4:30 or 5 and took the tram back to Uni. I walked from there and collapsed in my room around 6. After eating, skyping Mom and unpacking, Daniela and I caught up and decided to go out later since she's been cooped up most of the week. Matt and Pardeep were home and invited us over to watch a big boxing match. We ended up staying pretty late and by the end I'm pretty sure I was sleepwalking. Somehow I made it back home without falling asleep.

Today is Easter Sunday! I can't believe how fast time is flying. I plan on getting some work done today but I'm still so tired from traveling and such. I don't think I'm caught up on my sleep yet. Every time I try to read my essay my eyes blur and my brain feels stretched. When thinking hurts I don't usually do my best work. I may end up procrastinating again. Now that's something I'm really good at. Why do I do this to myself! Oh well. May be if the supermarket is open I'll buy some eggs to hardboil and chocolate to drown my sorrows...I mean, celebrate. Well, expect radio silence for the next week or two. I can't imagine I'll want to write anything until my essays are done.

Happy Easter!

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